true work

I received an email message on Monday from one of my favorite authors, Jeff Goins, that really hit home for me right now, as I wonder if there’s a place for my work at my current institution.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my work, both within and outside higher education. In Jeff’s email, he shared a few thoughts that are helping me think things through – and I wanted to share with you in case a few of you out there are in the same state of mind.

In essence, now is the time to seek new ways to do old things. And now is a great time to ask your yourself, “What role is being required of me right now?”

He shared a quote from Toni Morrison that stuck with him – and is doing the same for me. Here’s the quote:

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That’s how civilizations heal.”

(Note: In case you didn’t know, we are ALL artists in some form or another.)

Instead of seeing COVID-19 as turbulent and chaotic event, see it as a time to get to get your ass in gear in doing your true work. This is your opportunity to discover what you are really here to do.

He concludes by sharing three suggestions and a final statement that we could do to move forward:

  1. Use this opportunity as a chance to focus on the fundamentals of your work, getting better at what you do.
  2. Don’t get lost in the myopia of thinking your work is more specific than it really is. This is also a chance to find your true work, going deeper than thinking you are just an employee or laborer. What you really do is tell stories and spread ideas and inspire people with beauty and excellence.
  3. Once you understand what you’re really here to do, you then need to ask the question, “What role is being required of me right now?”

What challenges are you currently facing? What has this current crisis taught you about your true work?

You get to decide. Trust the work. Trust yourself. Believe that all of this is working for your benefit, allowing you to share your greatest gifts, to make the work a better place.

Then, go do it.

P.S.  My true work: To create and make available the tools and resources to help people at a crossroads in life gain more clarity regarding their place in the world so that they can positively impact the lives of others.


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